Observing and Assessing

We assess how children are learning and developing by observing them frequently. We use information that we gain from observations, as well as from photographs or videos of the children, to document their progress and where this may be leading them.

We believe that parents know their children best and we ask them to contribute to assessment by sharing information about what their children like to do at home and how they as parents are supporting development.

We make periodic assessment summaries of children’s achievement based on our ongoing development records. These form part of children’s records of achievement. We undertake these assessment summaries at regular intervals as well as times of transition, such as when a child moves into a different group or when they go on to school.

The setting keeps a record of achievement for each child, known as a Learning Journey. Staff and parents working together on their children’s records of achievement is one of the ways in which the key person and parents work in partnership. Your child’s Learning Journey helps us to celebrate together her/his achievements and to work together to provide what your child needs for her/his well-being and to make progress.

Your child’s key person will work with you to keep this record. To do this you and she/he will collect information about your child’s needs, activities, interests and achievements. This information will enable the key person to identify your child’s stage of progress. You and the key person will then decide on how to help your child to move on to the next stage.

Observing and assessing children forms a key part of the Early Years Foundation Stage. There are 3 main types of observations:

  • Incidental/anecdotal – when you notice something you are not actively involved in.
  • Participation – when you are playing with the children or leading an adult led activity.
  • Focused/narrative – when you are observing a child in a child-initiated, play based activity.

Good observations occur when you have a good knowledge of child development and a sound knowledge of the EYFS and what a child might need to do to move forwards in their development. Everyday experiences and activities will provide an almost complete picture of the child’s learning, but particular planning is needed to capture important aspects of learning that might not arise every day. Methods of capturing observations include:

  • Tick charts and checklists – these can form a useful starting point, or overall record of what a child can do, however should not be the only observational tool used since they lack detail and uniqueness.
  • Learning stories or journeys – these normally consist of a number of short written observations with conclusions of what you have seen. They should include next steps for the child and ways in which the child can be supported.
  • Post it notes/stickers – these are especially useful for recording incidental/anecdotal evidence but are only useful if you take the time to collate them and ensure that all areas are being covered for each child.
  • Photos – (as long as you have photo permissions for the child!) can be used to take pictures of children in action, but also of things they have made, or drawing or writing they have done but want to take home with them.
Little Wombatz, The Library, 7 Clay St, Soham, Ely CB7 5HJ
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